A season after finishing 4-5, Dorchester is on the Boston Globe’s undefeated bus for the first time in five years.
For those who don’t know, the bus page has tracked undefeated football teams in Eastern Massachusetts since 1934.
“I don’t think we have big heads, we really don’t, the kids are handling it well as a team,” Dorchester coach Rich Moran said Saturday morning while scouting his next opponent, Brighton, from the bleachers at White Stadium. “We have great leadership. Believe me, we know, we haven’t been tested in the sense of going through a whole season and how rough it is."
Even though Brighton is 2-3, it will be a tough test for the Bears (5-0). On Saturday, Brighton came back from a 22-12 halftime deficit to beat Southie, 28-22.
“Oh they are a talented team, well coached,” Moran said of Brighton. “The quarterback [Jalen Apperwhite] gets rid of the ball real quick, they run a lot of formations. Last week he was in the Pro I and now he’s in a double open two tight-end set with one back. He does a lot so it’s a lot to prepare for.”
Brighton had a few rough weeks going into the Southie game but coach Randolph Abraham said they will be ready for the Bears.
“I think sometimes a victory is what’s needed to wake a team up,” Abraham said after Saturday’s game. “I told the guys before the second half, even though I’m questioning your desire I never told them I couldn’t believe that they can do it. I never tell them that I doubt them. So I believe in them.”
Brighton has also been beat up with injuries this season but should be healthy for Dorchester.
“Next week we are going to have 18-year-olds out there playing 18-year-olds," Abraham said. "So I’m excited to see my offense like I had in [Week 2 vs.] Martha’s Vineyard.”
Saturday’s game at 10 a.m. at White Stadium will also tell Moran if this past weekend’s bye week was good or bad for his squad.
“When you are 5-0 sometimes you want to play, you want to keep that rhythm going,” he said. “At the same time you want to fine tune everything and get rid of some of the dings the kids have. We’ll find out next week really if it was beneficial or not.”
Shutting out Southie
Brighton’s second-half shutout of Southie’s offense during a 28-22 victory on Saturday was remarkable considering that the Bengals came into the game giving up 30 points per game.
Abraham said his team focused on defense all week and his team’s offense suffered a bit because of that. Brighton fumbled the ball away three times in the first half. Each of those turnovers resulted in a Southie score.
“I think there was lack of focus there from my running backs but our defense carried us today,” Abraham said. “We got really aggressive with the kids as coaches today, we questioned them, ‘What is it that you want to do here,’ because the first half was terrible."
South Boston running back Sean Hunter finished the day with 79 yards rushing while wide receiver Pannel Davis added 48 yards on the ground, 35 of which came in the first half. Hunter only had 9 yards rushing in the second half.
“Whatever South Boston wanted to do they could do," Abraham said. "They were running us over. We were a different team in the second half because that South Boston team in the first half destroyed us.”
Twenty-four hour center
After Brighton’s starting center, Jorman Ortiz, went down with an injury just before Saturday’s game against Southie, Wilbis Francisco Suero was forced to learn the position in 24 hours.
“If felt great because I learned I’m going to play center and in 24 hours I was able to learn that so I’m really proud of myself,” he said through the translation of Brighton coach Randolph Abraham.
The senior performed so well in the come-from-behind victory that he was given one of two game balls after the contest and Abraham said he might start against Dorchester.
Abraham said Ortiz will probably play tackle.
“Wilbis is very intelligent and is learning the game,” Abraham said. “He’s never played football before and he’s a senior but he’s doing everything I’m asking him to do.”
Optimist till the end
Even though he is 0-6 for the first time in his playing or coaching career, Guthrie remained more than positive a few hours after the loss to Brighton on Saturday.
“We’re still fighting for the championship, I still believe in this team, we’re still working for the championship,” he said before adding, “This team had some great moments throughout the season; the inconsistency hurts us a lot.”
East Boston (2-4) looks to get off a two-game slide this week against Latin Academy at 3 p.m. on Friday at White Stadium. The Jets lost to Austin Prep, 39-14, on Friday after falling to West Roxbury 22-6 the previous week.
“We’re up for every game,” Eastie coach John Parziale said. “You never expect to lose but we played some quality opponents in the nonleague and Westie was a tough loss for us but we just have to keep fighting at it.”
OK at the option
Burke (1-4) might be struggling this season in the standings, but its new option offense finally started to come into its own a bit during a 20-8 loss to West Roxbury on Friday afternoon, during which the Bulldogs scored their first TD in city league play this season.
“A little bit, I’m picking up on it,” said Burke senior quarterback Elvin Perez, who tossed a 25-yard TD pass to senior wide receiver George Tate on Friday. “I’m not going to say I’m the best at the world at it but I’m still learning it.”
Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
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- Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
- Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.